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Hotspur’s Son scores his first EPL goal of season

Tottenham wins 3-1 over Chelsea after Son’s solo goal in 54th
Nov 26,2018
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Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring a goal during an EPL match against Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday. [REUTERS/YONHAP]
Son Heung-min of the Tottenham Hotspur scored his first English Premier League (EPL) goal of the 2018-19 season during a match against Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on Saturday. With Son’s goal, the Hotspur won the match 3-1.

Tottenham got their lead in the eighth with Dele Alli’s header off Christian Eriksen’s free kick, and Harry Kane made it 2-0 with his right-footed strike in the 16th.

While the Spurs were leading 2-0, Son scored a fantastic solo goal in the 54th minute. He took the pass from Alli near the halfway line and dribbled past Jorginho and David Luiz before finishing with a neat left-footed strike past Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Son didn’t play full time as he was replaced by Erik Lamela in the 78th.

“I think the Dele pass was just unbelievable,” Son told Spurs TV. “It’s just amazing to score against big teams and in big stadiums. I feel very proud of the team in making this goal.”

Chelsea did manage to avoid a shutout loss with Olivier Giroud’s goal in the 85th. With a win, Hotspur is ranked third in the EPL, with 10 wins and three losses, totaling 30 points.

“I think tonight was our best performance of the season,” Son said to Spurs TV after the match. “I think we enjoyed playing against them.”

This was Son’s first English Premier League (EPL) goal in the 2018-19 season after playing eight matches. Including other competitions, it was his third goal of the season. The 26-year-old previously netted twice in Spurs’ 3-1 win during the Carabao Cup match against West Ham United on Oct. 31.

“It was a fantastic performance by him and the entire team,” Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino was quoted as saying on the Spurs’ website. “I’m happy because he’s a nice guy and now he’s building his fitness again. It was a difficult period for him in the summer.”

Son has been one of the busiest football players due to the tough national team schedule. After finishing the 2017-18 Premier League season with Spurs, Son joined the Korean national team in May to prepare for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. After playing friendly matches against Honduras and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Son departed for Austria. There he played in two more friendly matches, against Bolivia and Senegal before playing in three group-stage matches - against Sweden, Mexico and Germany - at the World Cup.

After the World Cup, Son had a short break. Afterwards, he headed to the United States to play for the Hotspur in the International Champions Cup, a preseason tournament. Then Son headed to Indonesia to compete with the U-23 Korean football team at the Asian Games, playing in six of the seven matches.

But that wasn’t the end. Once he returned to Korea with his gold medal from the Asian Games, Son had just one day of rest before he joined the senior national team led by new head coach Paulo Bento.

From Korea’s friendly match against Honduras to two October friendlies, Son played in 21 matches. In addition to the number of matches, the total distance Son has traveled is impressive. He has flown a total of 76,597 kilometers (47,595 miles) since May.

“I felt very sorry because I went away for a long time, didn’t play well and of course the fans supported me until I played well again. I’m really thankful and grateful for that.”

Due to Son’s long absence from Spurs, his name wasn’t added to Bento’s roster for the November friendlies in Australia, as the KFA agreed not to call-up Son until the 2019 Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup, which is scheduled to start at the United Arab Emirates in January.

“We have a difficult time ahead, and it’s important to have everyone fit and ready to compete,” Mauricio was quoted as saying.

Son is now only one goal away from scoring his 100th goal in his European career. He scored 49 goals for Hamburger SV and Bayer Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga before moving to Tottenham in 2015. For the London club, he has bagged 50 goals across all competitions.

“I want to show a good performance for the fans as well,” Son said to Spurs TV. “I think this is very important. I think the fans make me play well again, and I’m really, really thankful for that and grateful for that.”

The Hotspur will continue the season with a Champions League match against Inter Milan at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday, local time, 5 a.m. on Thursday, Korea time.

BY KANG YOO-RIM, YONHAP [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]